10 benefits you will gain from changing to a new city for your degree(s)On July 2, 2017 by neurotravels
Following my last article “Why you should move to a new city for your (next) degree” I wanted to provide you with a list of specific benefits I am sure you will gain when stepping out of your comfort zone and deciding for a change. Ten benefits you will gain when moving to a new city for your first or your next degree:
1 – Checking out a new city/country/culture
Obviously, with changing the place you are studying in, you are getting to know a new city or maybe even a new country and a new culture – how cool is that? Imagine yourself strolling through a beautiful new city center you never saw before, checking out new coffee shops, bars, grocery stores; finding your own new favourite places, creating a new home, perceiving a ton of new impressions – how exciting! I want to run right now and go explore 😀
2 – New friends
You probably already have the best friends you can imagine and it is without doubt hard to leave them (for a while). But on the other hand, you will get to know many new people, get to know many new kinds of humours, laughs, ideas, knowledges and who knows – maybe you can even add these people to your best-friends-pool! This pool will get more international and in turn, misconceptions and prejudices vanish. All the new friends I found along my journey always inspired me enormously and helped me to bring the best out of me. Additionally, true friends that you don’t see during your time abroad, trust me, you will never lose them – no matter how seldom you can catch up!
3 – Learning how to open up
This was a tough one for me, especially when moving to Zurich. I came to Zurich without knowing one single person. I never feel too confident in a new group in the beginning and it was hard for me to open up. It depends a lot on the situation, but in a bigger group sometimes I simply like to be the listener. With being new and alone in Zurich, I just had to force myself into certain situations, visit new sport clubs or talk to strangers at my first home party in my own house, where I did not know a single person except the (awesome!) people I was living with. Now I can call a group of fantastic people living in Zurich part of my closest friends (see previous point 2) and can call myself stronger and more open than ever before.
4 – Discover yourself
Discover yourself – this benefit is another great one regarding your personality! I love this one! If you come to a new city and you don’t really know anyone, you will learn so much about yourself! You will have to figure out what you like most, what you’re gonna do to get to know new people, what interests you have, maybe even try out new stuff you never did before! You will have to talk about yourself with strangers, explain them who you are, you will have to answer new questions which will lead to interesting conversations. You will have to solve many problems and you can observe your reactions to new situations and learn from them – which obviously is a great thing and will make you much stronger and will show you who you really are or who you want to become!
5 – Problem solving, organising, administration
This is a point that sometimes can get really annoying, but it is another one that will teach you a lot. Every country has its own regulations, rules and how-you-have-to-do stuff. From how to register in the city council to how they do their recycling to how you handle your renting agreements and pay your tax. It all must be learned and it is super interesting to see how countries differ. You will see which version you like most, what in your eyes works best and which important points you would support or fight for in the future.
6 – Different labs, different insights into the science world
This one is specifically related to science but I am confident that you can translate this to any other discipline. This is a point that is one of the most powerful regarding your career. Changing university will provide the opportunity of seeing so many different procedures. Again, administration processes at universities and institutes. But also, you will see different structures of laboratories, offices, groups and security procedures… This will make you very flexible in your thinking, it will provide you with new ideas and if you integrate different point of views in science, this might help you in creating an absolutely genius new experiment idea that you could win the Nobel prize for! #thinkingbig 😉
Jokes aside, these new insights and the possibility to expand your network and to tell people about your previous work is one of the most precious benefits you gain from changing university. That all, in turn, is very important in becoming a great scientist and for being able to detect where good science is done!
7 – Moving back to minimalism
Moving is so much work. It sucks. But, on the other hand, you can also see is as a good work-out 😉 And an important benefit that comes with moving is, that it forces you to go through all your things and it therefore provides you with an opportunity to get rid of stuff, re-evaluate the value of your material possessions and go back to minimalism. This is a thing we do way too seldom, but which really can free your mind.
8 – your CV is looking good!
A benefit not to forget! Going through all the annoying part of the moving and the administration, mixed with the braveness you show by going through all this, as well as all the insights you gain through different university life-styles: this all will make a great impression on future employers and will nowadays not be seen as a disadvantage, but it is a big plus. If you have a traveling-gap? No problem – that travel “helped you find yourself” and you can even combine it with learning new skills, for example:
9 – Learning a new language
Depending on where you move to or if you combine your moving with some time off, this could improve some of your skills. For example, improve your English, which is the science language used all over the world and is a crucial skill to have; or even learn a new language- how awesome is that? For me it was a tough one to learn Swiss German, even if German is my mother language- they are using some serious wild language over there! 😉 Unfortunately, nothing to put on my CV 😉
10 – change is always good.
Last but not least, the summary as its own bullet point: change is always good. Change will always benefit you in a certain way. Even if you decide for a change and you don’t like it afterwards – you learnt something about what you don’t like! And as a scientist I am used to think this way: things that don’t work the way you wanted them to work, are a valuable result, too, and provide important information. Us humans, we are always so afraid of change and stepping out of our comfort zones. How weird, given that change just sharpens your perception, teaches you precious things and can provide so many new insights and benefits!
More help needed for deciding? Check out Decision making: how your brain weighs the evidence and why you shouldn’t regret any decisions